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Old Mar 21, 2004, 12:34 AM   #1
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Default Flash Setup / Help Needed

Hi,

I would like to be able to take nice portrait pictures at home with my digital rebel of family. I know that I will need a external flash. Based on recommendations here on the forum I am leaning towards picking up the Sigma 500 DG Super.

Upon reading up on portrait picture taking it seems that a photo umbrella may be a good purchase.

So here is my question:

Can I use the Sigma 500 DG Super from the camera to the photo umbrella? I do not care if it is attached by wire to the camera. I know that I could do it wirelessly using the Canon ST-E2 but that is out of my price range. Is there other options like getting a cheap flash that will wirelessly slave the Sigma 500 DG Super that is attached to the umbrella?

Also will one Sigma 500 DG Super on the umbrella give enough light to shoot an indoor portrait? Or am I looking at needing at least 2 umbrellas with flashes? I am in no means looking to set up a professional studio - just enough to take some nice in home portraits.

I would like to keep the total cost under $300. I looked at B&H's site and did this pricing so far:

Sigma 500 DG Super = $179.99
40 inch photo umbrella = $39.99
Flash attachment to photo umbrella = $29.99
Total cost so far = $250

Is there a option that will allow me to hook the Sigma 500 DG Super to the photo umbrella for about $50?

Thanks for any help - I need it!

Jeff
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Old Apr 20, 2004, 2:36 PM   #2
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Default Here's what I did...

I do own some Norman studio lights, but I don't own a studio & the Norman lights were purchased a long time after I started shooting portraits. I've used studios, but 99% of my indoor shots are made in my bedroom with everything moved around & backdrops pinned on the wall over my closet door.

In the begginning, my standard lighting setup was a 2 halogen hot lamp setup that I made from 7" clamp-on reflectors & Westinghouse 150W halogen bulbs. These were mounted on 2, 8ft Smith Victor light stands & Umbrella adapters that I bought from B&H. My fill light was usually bounced off of a 42" silver umbrella that is positioned above & to the models left (about 35 degrees in front of her). Depending on her hair & outfit color, I may add a gold panel to the fill light umbrella. Also, depending on the background color, I may also add a small slave flash unit aimed into the umbrella.

My main light was usually placed directly in front & slightly above the model. I use the normal halogen clamp light as a modeling light & also use a Vivitar 285HV as a strobe. I usually use a translucent white 42" umbrella & either reflect the light or shoot through the umbrella (depending on the background & outfit colors). The 285HV is synced to my camera using a Wein Peanut & an Interfit infrared trigger that mounts on my D30 hot shoe.

I also may use a background light or a hair light & that is normally provided by a 75W halogen bulb in a 10" reflector. That's pretty much it for indoors lighting. I actually taught myself using just hot lights at first & got fancier as I got better.

Outdoor lighting is slightly different...in daylight I almost always use open shade & natural elements to provide some reflectivity. If I need more light I will use a 42" 5-in-1 round Redwing reflector. In a pinch, I'll use my on-camera flash for fill (but that is about the ONLY time I'll use it). In darkness, I will use a reflector or my 285HV with either a Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer or a Lumiquest Pocket SoftBox mounted on it. At other times I'll mount the flash on a light stand & use it with an umbrella (I'm also planning on getting another 285HV so I'll have a basic 2 light plug-free portable shooting setup). YMMV
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Old Apr 20, 2004, 4:08 PM   #3
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Why not go full out (well at least somewhat)..

http://www.caicameras.com/cgi-bin/me...y_Code=LT-KITS

This will work better since it has a modeling light (so you can aim).

Get two and you have a mini studio.

You might be able to fire these with the built in strobe or you might have to get a shoe adapter to hook up one light. (The other will fire with by IR).


-----------------------------------
If you are set on getting the DG Super (for other usage) then get a mini softbox http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=32690&is=REG

Then get a lightstand http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=262758&is=REG

And an adapter
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=53721&is=REG
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Old Apr 28, 2004, 10:43 AM   #4
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Default DO NOT GET JTL 160'S

I can't stress it enough! DO NOT GET JTL 160'S :!:
Why, you ask? I know the price on these things are very attractive which is what influenced me to buy them. But I don't like the idea of throwing my equipment away which is exactly what you will have to do when the bulb blows and goes bad. The actually flash bulb is not replaceable! it is permanently mounted in the strobes housing so when it's gone you have to buy new units. I returned the two I bought to the camera store where I purchased them. I was so upset when I found out, that I have never even went back to that shop or bought another jtl product. The info is not on there website, not in the camera store or in the included information with the product... very misleading, not the kind of company I want to deal with.

Oh yeah the bulbs are "rated" to last 25,000 flashes, so maybe it should last some time, I still just can't get over the thought of throwing it away after the bulb blows...

Disposable Studio strobes... what will they think of next :roll:
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Old Apr 28, 2004, 11:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: DO NOT GET JTL 160'S

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdEye
I can't stress it enough! DO NOT GET JTL 160'S :!:
Why, you ask? The actually flash bulb is not replaceable! it is permanently mounted in the strobes housing so when it's gone you have to buy new units.

[other mindless ranting clipped...]
Maybe you should get another camera store!! The bulbs (both flash tubes and modelling light) are replaceable.

http://www.adorama.com/JTVJ160FT.html (Strobe)
http://www.adorama.com/JTVJ110ML.html (Modeling)

My local JTL dealer gives me a 15% discount off that price. But I do usually have to wait a week for parts.
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Old Apr 28, 2004, 4:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: DO NOT GET JTL 160'S

Quote:
....[other mindless ranting clipped...]
Ouch... kinda rough, man. If I insulted you, I apologize. I know the modeling lamp is replacable but I could not find anyway to replace the strobe. I tried many ways... As a matter of fact how do you replace it. I couldn't figure it out, glad you did. In the long run (for my needs) the alien bees I just ordered will probably suit me better.

Now help me out here and any other person who may be wanting to order the jtl j160.

The jtl's website states ( http://www.jtlcorp.com/light/14.html ) that the j160 is the upgrade model to the j110 and they accept the same accessories.
Now when you go to http://www.jtlcorp.com/light/2.html you will see the flash tubes listed for the versalight 200, 300, 500, 800 & 1000 models, but the j110 or 160 is not listed.

When you go to the j110's accessory page which is also the accessory page for the j160 since they use the same ( http://www.jtlcorp.com/light/4.html ) the only replacable bulbs here are the modeling lamps. All of this is what made me look at my j160's (I had two) and I tried but just could not figure out how to remove the tube. I tried tugging on it till the point I thought I was going to break it. Do you have to open it to replace the bulb?


Anyway, like I said, I apologize if I offended you.
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Old Apr 28, 2004, 11:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: DO NOT GET JTL 160'S

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdEye
Quote:
....[other mindless ranting clipped...]
Ouch... kinda rough, man. If I insulted you, I apologize.
No insult taken, it's just that rather than doing a quick web search or sending email to JTL you went off on all JTL products based on one minimum wage flunkys opinion. If you want to act like that maybe dpreview is more the type of forum you will like (just kidding).


Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdEye
I know the modeling lamp is replacable but I could not find anyway to replace the strobe.
It is soldered in. There are two screws under the silver label on the side, remove them then unsolder the lamp (two wires). I have a spare one but none of my units have failed so I have not had to do it. It doesn't look too hard (but I am an EE). The dealer offered to do it or send it in if I needed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdEye

The jtl's website states ( http://www.jtlcorp.com/light/14.html ) that the j160 is the upgrade model to the j110 and they accept the same accessories.
Yea that is kinda misleading, it is basically in a case the same shape as the older 110 but is not the same electronics. JTL does need a website upgrade they are missing a bunch of products that they make. But then again they really only deal with stores and not too much directly with customers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdEye
Anyway, like I said, I apologize if I offended you.
Again no offense taken but you might want to review what the original post was about. It was using a standard flash and umbrellas with a budget of $200. Alien bees are great (and I recommend them to anybody with a slightly higher budget). But even the beginner bee package is $400 (with shipping).
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Old Apr 28, 2004, 11:23 PM   #8
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cool... I don't post here often and didn't want to start any beef with the few posts I do have here.

I usually don't make posts like the one I did earlier (seriously I don't) but I just had a bad experience that I was trying to stop anyone else from having...

Guess you are right about the camera shop. I haven't went back there again anyway.
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Old Aug 7, 2004, 10:42 PM   #9
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I have gone down the same road of decisions. I have the Canon Digtal Rebel with the Canon 420EX flash. I was on my way to upgrade to the Canon 550EX when I heard about the 500 DG Super. I am still thinking about getting that, but hate the harsh shadows I get with using onboard flash, also hate battery issues with having to use rechargables. I know Quantum makes power packs etc. But then I looked at the prices of both the JTL equipment and the Alien Bees. I like the battery packs on the JTL system better than the Aileen Bees Vagabon system. If I go with theBees I will use a car battery andAC/DC converter and make my own power. I am leaning towards the Beginner package AB800 and stand and will pick up the Backdrop package later. The JTL seems to have a more complete line of products on the higher end side. But hey, the reviews on the AB's have all just been great. I am sure once I get some real studio strobesI will rarely use the 420EX and therefore will have no need for a 500 DG or a 550EX. When I am shooting in non-controlled environments I perfer less flash and faster lens.

I have found it is definately better to save your money and buy better products than to rush outand buy just because the price is lower. Therefore I will probably get the AB's and step up to White Lighting in time.
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